PP-2005-05: A Different Story about Indexicals

PP-2005-05: Stojanovic, Isadora (2005) A Different Story about Indexicals. [Report]

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The received view about indexicals holds that they are directly
referential expressions, and that the semantic contribution of an
indexical consists of that thing or individual to which the indexical
refers in the context of its utterance. The aim of this paper is to
put forward a different picture. I argue that direct reference and
indexicality are distinct and separate phenomena, even if they cooccur
often. Still, it is the speaker who directly refers to the things that
she is talking about, and those things matter for the truth of her
utterance. Indexicals, on the other hand, merely help the interpreter
identify the speaker's intended reference. Typically, indexicals
encode descriptive conditions that the context must meet to make the
utterance true. For example, the demonstrative 'this' encodes the
condition that the subject matter, ie that about which one is talking,
should be salient and proximal to the speaker. The semantic
contribution of an indexical, I suggest, consists precisely of such
descriptive conditions. I will offer a formal account, dubbed
contextual update semantics, and show how it captures the main
conceptual motivations and how it handles embedded indexicals, which
may seem problematic at a first glance.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: PP-2005-05
Series Name: Prepublication (PP) Series
Year: 2005
Uncontrolled Keywords: indexicals
Depositing User: Benedikt
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/150

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